WSJ article 'not clear' on whether Malaysian PM Najib is accused of taking 1MDB funds: Lawyer

Mohd Hafarizam Harun says that the WSJ article was not clear on whether Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was accused of taking funds from 1MDB.
Mohd Hafarizam Harun says that the WSJ article was not clear on whether Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was accused of taking funds from 1MDB.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article was not clear on whether Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was accused of taking funds from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), said his lawyer Mohd Hafarizam Harun.

Datuk Mohd Hafarizam, whose law firm is acting for the Prime Minister, said the article was "neither here or there".

"The article is not clear on whether they are alleging that the money is from 1MDB or not.

"Why we sent a letter of clarification is because we want the WSJ to tell us what their position is.

"Once that position has been taken, then it is easier for me to advise my client.

"Otherwise I will be bordering on conjecture. I would have to assume that they meant 1MDB or assume that they did not mean 1MDB.

"It would be rather difficult for me as a plaintiff to advise my client if I am not sure what their position is," he told reporters on Monday.

Mr Mohd Hafarizam said he had advised Datuk Seri Najib that the WSJ article was unclear.

"Yes, my law firm can say whether the article is defamatory or not - but if I wrongly give advice, then I am also subject to professional negligence.

"The first two paragraphs of the article seem to suggest the money was from 1MDB, but then when you look further, they mention "the source is not known", he added.

He said his firm would seek Mr Najib's instructions once WSJ stated its position on the matter.

On July 8, Mr Najib's lawyers sent a letter of clarification to WSJ to seek an explanation over its July 3 article implicating him of allegedly transferring 1MDB funds into his personal accounts.

His legal firm, Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak, said it was now identifying "facts to proceed with further instructions" by way of the parties involved in the writing, distributing and publishing the article.

The firm said that this was to enable the "service of any legal letter or court documents".

The WSJ had published an article quoting an "unnamed investigator", claiming that almost US$700 million (S$946 million) of 1MDB funds went into Mr Najib's personal accounts.

The Prime Minister's Office responded by saying that the articles were "political sabotage", while the 1MDB insisted that no funds had been transferred to Mr Najib's accounts.

Mr Najib has also refuted the claims, maintaining that the allegations are a political ploy engineered by his opponents in an attempt to topple him, among them former premier Mahathir Mohamad.